While vinyl siding is among the two most popular options of siding in America, fiber cement siding continues to grow in market share. In a side by side comparison between the two, they both have strong and weak points. Let’s explore.
According to JamesHardie.com, fiber cement wins in a landslide over vinyl. But let’s take a more nuanced approach to this ongoing battle.
Top Comparison Factors
There are several factors to consider in what makes for quality siding. Some are weighted stronger than other considerations, but it’s up to you to decide what you value most. Here are the factors that are often considered most important.
The bottom line, or total cost of siding installed, is often the chief consideration for most homeowners. Vinyl is well known as the most economical siding available.
The basic, hollow-back, version costs just $7.50 to $9.50 per sq.ft. to install. Premium vinyl or insulated foam-back vinyl will run $9.50 to $15.50 per sq.ft. installed.
Expect to pay between $10.50 to $17.50 per sq.ft. for the installation of standard fiber cement siding like Hardie Plank or Allura.
For a typical American home (2,000 sq.ft of siding), the average total cost can range from $15,000 to $31,000 for standard vinyl siding. — Compare that to fiber cement which on the same house will cost between $21,000 and $35,000 fully installed.
Total Cost Verdict: based strictly on which option is more budget friendly, vinyl would be a clear winner.
There are several different material options for house siding: wood, metal, stone and stone veneer, vinyl, brick, fiber-cement, stucco and more. But, looking at the materials for siding is just scratching the surface! Delving deeper, we see many more options and sub-options.
The only limitations are your imagination. We’ll cover primary options plus a few sub-options in this guide. Special note: all cost related information is based mostly on the 2022 information. As you can guess, the cost of materials and installation have gone up by double digits compared to previous year due to supply chain issues and rampant inflation.
The main options relate to how the material is installed, such as: bevel, shingles, board-and-batten, and split-log.
There are numerous sub-options, as wood has several grains, many ways to cut / shape it, and thousands of color choices.
Within this category, we also include Engineered Wood siding. Also known as composite wood, man-made wood, or manufactured board.
Natural wood obviously comes directly from timber, while the man-made version is manufactured from wood fibers, saw dust, and bonding agents. It’s a strong, lightweight and less expensive alternative. Instead of pieces cut from logs, the material is shaped to match the order for a job.
Wood Siding Costs Installed: Natural Wood vs. Engineered Wood Siding, Plus ROI
Natural wood material is relatively expensive, considering the cost of initial investment and the ongoing maintenance costs.
On average, natural wood siding costs between $10.50 to $17.50 per square of natural wood siding installed, depending on the project scope and complexity, trim options, and your home’s location. This price range also depends heavily on the grain and grade of wood used, as well as specific style and options.
The recent increase in costs is tied to the overall spike in the prices of lumber, as well as tighter supply of home remodeling pros.
Prices will be higher in more affluent areas, as natural wood is considered a premium material that can also help a property stand out in a neighborhood with other higher-priced homes.
For engineered wood siding, you can expect to pay between $10.50 and $16.50 per square foot installed. The $12.50 to $15.50 per sq.ft. range is in between the midrange and the high-end, while a somewhat fairer price range would fall in between $10.50 and $14.50 per sq.ft. installed.
Pricing for the installation on the entire house will have a fairly wide range, but this is usually due to your home’s region and local real estate values, as well as normal variations (that can be quite wild) in pricing among different contractors in your area.
To install natural wood as cladding for an averaged sized home, it will cost between $21,000 and $35,000 for a typical house with 2,000 sq.ft. of siding.
With Engineered Wood, your total project cost will be between $21,000 and $33,000 for a typical house with 2,000 sq.ft. of siding.
ROI (Cost-to-Value Return) for the Engineered Wood siding is nearly 79% (cost-to-value return), which is higher than the natural wood’s 77% cost-to-value return normally recouped at resale.